Monday, November 2, 2009

Sarasota undervote fears, Go Vote Tuesday, Montreal ditches e-voting

Sarasota Sup. of Elections Kathy Dent predicts another "smooth" election in spite of voting machine problems - the machines can't read blue ink or #2 pencil and manual counts are needed to ensure that all votes are counted, but once burnt twice shy activists and a candidate call for manual counting of ballots...
... The Defense Authorization Bill, which contains an internet voting pilot, was signed by the President last week. Around the same time, a government commission released a report on China's ability to conduct Cyber Warfare against the US...Missing ballots for April 08 Nevada State GOP convention finally counted, favored Ron Paul...Some New Jersey officials warn that under-vote notification goes too far causing loss of secrecy...Galveston TX Vote Center pilot cut number of voting places in half...The Washington Post slams Virginia State Board of Elections' website...Open Software Can't Count Votes & Elections Still Won't Work...Montreal Canada returns to hand counted paper ballots after e-voting problems...Privacy Looms Over Gay Rights Vote...Rock the Vote urges you to take part in democracy, get out and vote this Tuesday...

CO: Inside the ballot issues for Pitkin and Eagle counties
October 30, 2009 ...City of Aspen Referendum 2A: The city wants advice on whether it should continue to use Instant Runoff Voting for its mayor and council elections. The question is on the ballot because of the controversy and complications associated with IRV in the May election. Voters are being asked a simple “yes” or “no” on whether to keep using the method.

FL: Elections supervisor predicts smooth election in Venice * (Diebold OSX scanners)
November 1. VENICE - Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent said she is expecting strong turnout and a smooth election for City Council seats Tuesday despite some complaints about a ballot counting glitch.
An elections activist and at least one candidate are calling for a manual vote count after a ballot marked with blue ink failed to scan properly during a test run earlier this month.

"I'm not concerned," (Dent)...
Muntz also disputed Dent's assertion that every ballot would be counted.

"She can't catch them all," Muntz said. "She thinks she'll be able to intercept each one, that it'll be rejected, but from what I'm learning lightly colored blue ink could slip through. It would be accepted and register as an undervote in that race."

Another "Smooth" Election supervised by Kathy Dent? 2006 Florida 13 Buchanon/Jennings Congressional Contest and the 18,000 undervotes. Dent ignored the vendors warning and also failed to supply this document to Jennings campaign:

E-Vote Memo Is a 'Smoking Gun'
03.22.07... "This memo is the smoking gun that says, 'Yes, Houston, we have a problem,'
Jennings and voting activists had sought not only access to the source code but to all correspondence between ES&S and election officials related to the performance of the machines. The memo was not among documents handed over.
...Kathy Dent, election supervisor in Sarasota, decided not to post the sign, (the sign ES&S urged her to put on each voting machine to warn voters of delay),,,

GA: Former Gov. won’t take lobbyist contributions again
November 2, 2009 The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that former Gov. Roy Barnes has said his campaign will not accept lobbyist contributions.
...“I have become very concerned that you have had an overwhelming takeover of the common interest by the special interests. We ought to say we’ve got to stop this right now.”

NC: Greensboro Students March To Early Voting Site

NC: IRV is verified confusion
Be Our Guest: Instant runoff voting
November 1, 2009 ...Can we really justify a voting system that is confusing, difficult to calculate, prone to error and fails to count every vote? Third, fourth and more place votes aren't "backup" votes as some IRV proponents define them, they're your votes and if your vote isn't counted, it doesn't count.


NJ: State law could compromise ballot secrecy
October 31, 2009 The principle of the secret ballot is sacred in U.S. elections, but some say Illinois state law compromises that rule.
The new law requires notification to voters when they do not cast a vote for any one of the state constitutional offices (governor, attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller,

NV: Count is a coup for Ron Paul backers
October 30, 2009 A group of disaffected Republicans said they felt vindicated Friday night after a count of missing delegate ballots from last year’s GOP state convention proved three delegates supporting U.S. Rep. Ron Paul should have been sent to the national convention.

NY: Election commissioner says Borrello’s double voting was not ‘clerical error’
While registered in both Erie County and Chautauqua County, Borrello, according to Green, voted alternately between his Williamsville and Irving addresses - violating New York state election law. The simultaneous registration was recently uncovered by the mandated statewide voter registration data base.

NY: New optical voting scanners face test

OH: Montgomery County taking precautions with electronic voting machines (Diebold)
Board of Elections officials will double-check all 2,500 machines after elections to ensure no ballots missed.
He said his office will double-check results from all 2,500 machines after Election Day by comparing summary sheets from each voting machine with the results on the electronic tabulation machines which tally the results from the machine’s memory cards.

OH: Cast ballots' wording can't be fixed *
October 30, 2009 The 1,307 votes cast before county commissioners discovered an error in language are set in stone, said Ashland County Prosecutor Ramona Francesconi-Rogers.
The ballots falsely state the county is asking voters to "retain" an already-imposed 0.25 percent sales tax increase when commissioners actually are asking voters to approve a new increase, not renew an existing tax...

PA: October 30, 2009
"Costs continue for voting machines"
The county paid Electec Inc., of Mt. Holly, N.J., $72,675 in software licensing fees and $98,685 for an extended warranty on 765 machines.
Sandy Schiff with the Coalition for Voting Integrity told commissioners during a meeting at Crossing Vineyards in Upper Makefield the county could have saved money on annual costs if they went with another type of voting system.

TN: Note to the Shelby County Election Administrator: The Voting Machines are Broken
...The broken machines even made Newsweek (”Short-circuiting the vote”) and the NY Times (”Can you count on voting machines?”) and in October 2008, the Brennan Center for Justice, the non-partisan public research and law institute, sent a letter telling the Secretaries of State in 16 states that the machines didn’t work.

TN: Last Chance Not to Vote in City Elections
Citizens indifferent to representative government look forward to not voting Tuesday

From APB reports. KNOXVILLE - The largest turnover on Knoxville City Council in 8 years will be decided by the few rather than the many Tuesday - and that's exactly how citizens here like it, according to spokespersons for a group claiming to represent Knoxville's "silent, indifferent majority."

TX: Election Day brings new voting system (Vote Centers)
November 1, 2009 There will be fewer polling places than usual Tuesday for Election Day — but more opportunities for you to cast a ballot.

Galveston County is participating in a pilot program where registered voters can vote at any of the county’s 40 polling places. They don’t have to go to a poll in a specific precinct.
the county to cut costs by reducing the number of polling places by about half, which means fewer workers are needed. Daigle said that as late as Wednesday, the county was scrambling to find enough election workers. Even with fewer polling places, the county was still short about four Spanish-speaking poll workers, she said.

TS: Erath County to help Texas test centralized voting (Vote Centers)
November 1, 2009...Gwinda Jones, county clerk for Erath County, said there are four counties in the state that are participating in the County-wide Election pilot program through the secretary of state’s office. The other counties are Lubbock, Galveston and Collin.

VA: Inquiry Launched Into Group That Sought to Disclose Voting Records
A nonprofit citizens group is under investigation for planning to send a mass mailing to 350,000 Virginia residents that would show not only their own voting record, but that of their neighbors, as well -- privileged information that, when released to the general public, is a felony punishable by a prison term.

VA: Lonna R. Atkeson, “The Future of Post Election Auditing”
After much discussion, compromise and careful thought, the participants agreed on the following statement that was forwarded to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)...

VA: Virginia's secret election
Good luck determining who's on your ballot -- without this guide.
October 31, 2009. ..the State Board of Elections has made it needlessly complicated to determine ahead of Election Day which candidates will appear a little further down the ballot -- especially in races for the House of Delegates.

WA: County to decide fate of ranked choice voting
Election: Three-year-old ‘instant runoff’ system to be put to test next month
10/26/09 To its supporters, ranked choice voting gives voters more choices and improves democracy. To its detractors, it’s costly and confusing.

Now, even as Pierce County voters prepare to use it a second time on the general election ballot, they must decide whether to keep or scrap ranked choice voting.

WA: Privacy Looms Over Gay Rights Vote
October 31, 2009. SEATTLE — At a time when voters in many states are using petitions to qualify ballot measures on issues from gay rights to property rights, a legal dispute over the identity of 138,000 petition signers here is raising new questions about privacy, free speech and elections in the Internet age.


Lots of Elections!
November 2nd, 2009. Just a reminder, you probably have an election tomorrow – yes, there are elections outside of the Presidential contests: statewide races, ballot initiatives, city council, town council, dog catcher….every single one is important to make sure you have a say in how your city and state is run. GO VOTE! Find out if you have an election by going to our Election Center.

Preparing for Email Addresses (on voter registration forms)
Champaign County Clerk. Last week I wrote about HR 1719 and expressed my general support for the bill. Coincidentally, we’re at a time in our process where we need to order some new registration forms for Deputy Registrars. We are now going to add the e-mail address to our forms in anticipation of some of the changes that might come down regarding e-mail updates. We already have a location for an e-mail address on our NVRA form.

Statisticians, Political Scientists, Election Officials, and Advocates Recommendations to NIST
November 1, 2009 Last weekend I participated in a working meeting in Alexandria, VA to design pragmatic post-election audits. One result was a letter to the National Institute of Standards and Testing (NIST) making suggestions for the Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines which they are in the process of updating. I am one of two participants and endorsers from Connecticut...

Sequoia: Open Software Can't Count Votes & Elections Still Won't Work
...More importantly, will publicly disclosed source code of any or even all election systems guarantee our votes are counted? No. While this level of transparency is an important breakthrough, it will not ensure fair and accurate elections.
We cannot guarantee fair and accurate elections in this country until uniform election laws identify invalid election results for what they are and send a bad election back to the people.

In time for Halloween, spectre of Internet voting re-emerges
The recently signed "Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act" includes a mandate to establish pilot programs to study electronic voting.
This is not the first Federal attempt to sidle up to Internet voting. In 2004, the Pentagon established just such a pilot program. But they wisely deep-sixed it after a panel of respected computer experts deemed Internet voting to be folly...


Australia: Queensland's online voting revolution looms
October 31, 2009 The days of the cardboard polling booth, the worn-out pencil and the ballot paper are numbered, according to Queensland's Electoral Commissioner.

David Kerslake believes universal online voting is an inevitable initiative on the democratic horizon and argues that first cab off the rank should be voters with disabilities at the next state election...

Brazil: Contest To Hack Brazilian Voting Machines on Friday October 30
...Next month, 10 teams that accepted the challenge will have access to hardware and software

Canada: What you need to bring to vote (City returns to hand counting ballots)
November 1, 2009 This year’s election will see a return to manual voting. In 2005, there were numerous errors with electronic voting machines, that delayed results well into the next day. Manual counting might mean getting election results earlier than last year
Voters need to bring a piece of photo ID with them, either a driver’s licence, a passport, or a medicare card. A certificate of Indian status, or a Canadian Forces identity card are also accepted.

Canada: Regina considers online voting
Voter turnout was 25 per cent
October 30, 2009 ... "It is a sad day for democracy in our two major cities," Don Ravis, a spokesman for Lead Saskatoon Futures Inc., told CBC News.
Ravis laid some of the blame for the poor turnout on the quality of people standing for election.

Canada and Philippines: Dominion Voting's No. 2 on Deloitte's list of Canada's top 50 rapid-growth tech firms
...It does not trade publicly and, on election days, those who cast ballots may not think twice about the machine tabulating their votes.

But if you recently cast a municipal vote in Oakville, Pickering or Montreal, or a provincial vote in September 's St. Paul's by-election – or were among the many in the state of New York who voted for senator Barack Obama for U.S. president – you may have used the handiwork of this relatively small Canadian company
...It has few rivals but has run test trials in the U.K. and Colombia and is contributing voting technology to the Philippines' 2010 national election.

Poulos started Dominion Voting in 2002, after the disaster in Florida.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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